Not a lot of thoughts this week. It was spring break, and it was not quite as awful as it could be. I got sick on Monday, got a random test for tuberculosis, got blood drawn, and basically hung out with my mom all week. But I had to cancel so many plans because I was frankly exhausted and coughing.
But, I was oddly okay with it. I think I needed to spend some time alone with God before I spent time with other people. It was one of those things where God has to work in you before He can really work through you. I spent some time literally on my knees and scrolling through the Bible since we’ve talked last. Prayers went up, and no clear responses have come down. Well, they have. If I pick them apart.
First, I had a conversation today which I’ve been waiting to have for six whole weeks. Six weeks of confusion and hurt led up to this conversation, and I honestly think it was a bit relieving but also painfully caustic. I’m going to be honest, and raw, and vulnerable, even though I know you will read this. It hurt me. It hurt a deep part of me to support someone I value so much in doing something I see as so wrong. I didn’t want to understand. I didn’t want to hear how it could be paralleled with my life. I didn’t want to hear how it may be new and confusing to me. But I sat there. I read every word, and I responded with grace and genuine love. As a follower of Christ, I am called to flee. But, I am called to give grace while doing so. And I think today’s balance was higher on the grace side than the truth side. I stated I was proud of the courage. I said I was appreciative of friendship. I apologized if I made it hard. But inside, I was torn. Because I wanted to quote scripture. I wanted to tell her why I disagreed. I wanted to share what God had to say. I wanted to ask who God meant to her. I wanted to ask questions. But I didn’t. I tried to be supportive. I failed in a lot of ways. Even so, God answered my prayer for this conversation to happen. It happened, and it’s over, and no one’s mad.
Secondly, an area of struggle has been revealed. I’m not sure if I ever wrote this or not, but I heard something along the lines of this said: “If God talks to you and calls you to something, and you don’t respond, He’s probably going to stop talking to you.” And it makes sense. If you had a friend who completely stopped listening to you, wouldn’t you soon give up using your words after a while? Or if you asked someone to do a favor for you, and they do an awful job, wouldn’t you make a mental note not to ask them for anything for as long as you can remember? I would. But would God? And this is a question I’m stuck on. Probably my highest high with God so far occurred over the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I was on a mission trip in Tucson, Arizona, and I felt a strong, no, rather a compelling and fervid notion inside of me to step up and lead the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my school. In that moment, I knew it was God. I knew I had been called. And I totally had every intention of responding. Every intention of responding negatively and not doing anything. It’s exactly what I did because I fear public speech. I fear vulnerability. I dread waking up thirty minutes early. I said I didn’t have enough time. I made endless excuses. I told God I was like Moses. Even still, I felt like I should still be involved. Well, long story short, I didn’t do anything, and I still haven’t done anything. And I carry guilt from doing so. Condemnatory guilt. Secondly, another time I responded to God’s prompting to pray for someone, I thereafter discovered some flee-able flaws in this person. And I was scared. Even so, I reached out. And to this day, this person hasn’t answered. I honestly feel like God’s given up talking to me until I honestly will give anything to follow Him. Including fears, comfort, security. And I’m fearing the first thing I will be called to give up will be my dream college, but at the same time, I don’t think so. But I’m not really scared. And I want God to speak to me. But overwhelming guilt tells me I am unworthy because of past failures. I know it doesn’t line up with God’s words. But honestly, it’s really easy for me to believe. Even so, I’m thankful because after asking for God to speak to me, I’m realizing we might have to work through some other things first.
My favorite person in the world is hurting right now. Boys, treat your ladies well. Be decisive. Be honest. And pray. A lot. Especially if you’re going to make a decision to end a relationship. You also don’t need to say everything coming to mind if it’s only going to hurt the other person. So. Yeah. If anyone else’s heart is heavy, here’s a list of slow, deep, Christian worship songs. [Love Me, JJ Heller; Broken Vessels, HillSong; Worn, Tenth Avenue North; Beautiful, Shawn McDonald; Just Be Held, Tenth Avenue North; Blessings, Laura Story; I will be Here, Steven Curtis Chapman.] There will probably be more. Anyways, this was another answer to prayer. I’ve missed seeing her everyday. I’ve missed the rants. I’ve missed the laughs. I’ve missed the random adventures. We did the thing last night. The thing where you get in a car and flip a coin to determine left or right turns. We didn’t even get lost on the way home, and, as a bonus, we didn’t hit any turtles or possums this time. But yeah. A lot of time has been spent rooting ourselves deeper in Christ together. Individually, but intertwining certain roots which will become one, allowing each to simultaneously return the other to where they belong: in His arms. I’ve never met someone who I can so easily relate to in every aspect. I never had a role model who happens to be a sister. I’ve never trusted someone so much with every detail in my life. I’ve never had someone trust me with every aspect of their life. But she’s essentially my sister. And I guess those kind of things happen when you’re family.
Overwhelmed was also a big word these past few days. The first day I went to be around people after five days in solitary confinement was chaos. Voices, shouting from every direction. Every angle, every pitch, all blurring together. Mouths move as eyes look into mine, but words are not recognizable. Each voice fades into the background and I struggle to catch one. Feeling in my legs are gone. I hope my face doesn’t look worried. I intentionally curl up the ends of my mouth. To pick out one voice from the crowd is like searching for a large needle in hay, but without a handy magnet. Movement all around the room makes me dizzy. Amid the noise, children flood the room, wandering every way, playfully chasing each other through the maze of desks, boards, humans, and furniture. Am I still breathing? My teeth grind together, but soreness doesn’t fill my mouth. My head starts pounding. The voices have become white noise and I try to find my mom’s above the others. They explain to me their project; I smile and nod. Finally, fresh air surrounds me. Peace. I sat down and promised myself I would never work with more than five kids at a time. And then signed up to work in the two year old room at church on Easter. Oops.
After a humbling trip to Trinidad and Tobago last summer, I am excited to announce I will be returning to Tucson, Arizona on June 10-19 to be God’s light in the community along with fifty other high school students. If you would like to read about my trip to Trinidad and Tobago, you can visit http://chapelmissiontrips.org/?cat=14 to read about personal testimonies of the trip, including a miraculous account of a beautiful, broken man (Harraman) I was blessed to visit and pray over in the local hospital (the Thursday entry). I am excited to return to a place in which God has revealed His goodness and love through my peers and trip leaders. Our team will be serving at the church throughout the week by providing services and worship, attending and running a engaging in physical labor, visiting a children’s foster home, and leading the people in the community to the church. I am anxious to see how God will move in the community, in relationship within our team, and my relationship with Him.I want to invite you to join me in preparing for this trip by consistently praying for three thingsᅳour safety while on the trip, for God to prepare our hearts, minds, and hands, and for God to prepare the hearts of the people who will we meet so they will be receptive to His calling in their lives. While there are a large number of students attending the trip, we cannot do it alone. Ephesians 4:12 states “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” I ask you to join me in prayer and financially if you so feel called.
Okay, that’s it for now.